The last time I lived in Italy, I was here but a brief four months, all spent in the winter and spring. This time, I’m here for a year in theory, and I came in the fall. The best part about this has been the opportunity to see Florence at Christmastime, which is my personal favorite time of year, when the cold is okay because there are lights all around the city and you’re looking forward to friends and family and holiday fun. Whatever holiday you celebrate, you likely celebrate in some form or fashion, even a secular one, or your friends do, so you know what I mean. It was important to me to make time for Christmas this year because I don’t arrive back with my family until the 23rd, and Christmas is already upon us. So I started off the holidays by acquiring a tiny tree, dubbed the Charlie Brown tree by my father, and downloading Spotify so that I could listen to Christmas music since after I got my new computer I forgot to put the tunes on it and Pandora doesn’t work over here. I also invested in a cinnamon candle.

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For the record, all the above came from the 99 euro-cent store. Wonderful. I’ve also made time for some other Christmastime activities, including ice skating, hot chocolate, the wonderful German Christmas market in town where I have spent entirely too much time (and calories!) but also eaten the best gyro of my life and other delicious items. Mulled wine= yum. So festive. I’ve also been to two holiday concerts, which will remind you that I in fact live in Italy. The first was a part-choral, part-instrumental concert that was sung mainly in Italian. It was fun to hear the carols sung in another language (and impressive!). The second concert was from a music school in Fiesole and ended up being traditional hymns… about St. Nicholas. It was very operatic. It was wonderful and lovely but totally unexpected!

One of the best parts about Florence during the holidays has been the wonderful lights and decorations that differ in every area (and seemingly street) of the city. Please enjoy a selection below, and definitely click to see the photos larger– Florence is gorgeous right now! Except during the fog. Can you believe how low it is?

I’m headed home this weekend for two weeks in the states for some much needed time with friends and family, and will be taking a break from posting in the meantime. Have a wonderfully happy holiday season, and I look forward to seeing you in the new year!

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